If you are wondering how exactly does a mom burnout look like during a pandemic, then let us tell you that the impact is profound. Now if you think it like this, long before the pandemic came into the picture, being a parent was already a hard enough job, but at least we weren’t hooked to playing the roles of a constant chef, teacher, 24/7 maid with continuous effort to keep them entertained all while trying to work from home and earn a living.
In the current pandemic situation, juggling the remote work, childcare and more has morphed a mom burnout and the preachy calls of keeping oneself calm aren’t exactly helping. We’re exhausted, and our children are becoming antsy each passing day, it’s more like everyone’s emotions are running on a high. While there are multiple reasons which are carrying us to the brink, here is a full-blown article on everything you need to know about mom burnouts.
What is Mom burnout?
‘Burnout’ is a term used to commonly describe occupational fatigue that one feels in his/her caregiver roles, including teachers, nurses as well as personal aides. The term is now popularly being used in motherhood since mothers are the greatest caregivers of them all and carry greater responsibilities than fathers. In fact, parents burnout affects 13 percent of mothers in comparison to 12 percent of fathers.
Precisely, mom burnout takes place when you feel extreme emotional exhaustion hovering over your approach in your domestic sphere. As you single-handedly become the crusader of endless invisible tasks, you eventually become prone to cumulative stress and even illness in some cases.
Burnout is also based on external factors such as the maternal age and the age of children, the number of children, the hefty involvement of partner, marital status and also your working conditions(whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom). These factors highly influence mom burnouts and typically leads to a major loss of personal satisfaction.
We, as moms, end up becoming more insensitive to the probing needs of others because we’ve ignored our needs for so long.
What are the causes of burnout?
When we talk about the causes of mom burnout, it entirely stems from prolonged periods of stress clubbed with bouts of tension and sleep deprivation. In a stressed situation, our adrenal glands stir large amounts of ‘fight or flight’ hormones including adrenaline and cortisol which help us going, in turn, leave us with a rather obnoxious feeling of fatigue if we develop a habit of living like this for far too long.
Readout some listed causes of mom burnout
1. Lack of control
The lack of control along with the sense of powerlessness that you feel after a traumatic birth experience or even a financial setback while you trying to do something for your child is often a solid cause of burnout.
2. Lack of reward
The constant, budging feeling of not being appreciated for all the hard work that you do is another cause. We are sure, most of the mom will relate!
3. Dysfunctional home/work environment
While we are trying our very best to maintain a healthy balance between our home and work-life, spousal conflicts can really become a sore in this entire process. In some cases, it also leads to a permanent strain on your relationship and aggravates the existing stressors.
Or the sheer lack of it.
5. Mismatched values
We all start with a set vision of how motherhood is going to be for us and how we are going to take charge of all the responsibilities, and when the reality doesn’t come even close to what we imagined, it somehow pushes our stress levels.
6. A poor Job fit
Maybe you are very ambitious and would prefer to chase your dreams and build a career for yourself rather than change diapers all day, this might sound harsh but this is the reality of your life now.
7. Activity Overload
The regular task of chasing after our little munchkins requires a very high level of energy and patience. It can often feel very tedious as well as a draining task over the long run.
When you look at your fellow mothers excelling in the motherhood department – or at least, this is what it seems like, you tend to resent their success and happiness rather than reflecting upon your own self.
9. Lack of social outlets
We all need adult interactions. Especially as moms stuck with our children in nationwide lockdown, we need more of it. But due to exhaustion, we tend to withdraw ourselves from certain social opportunities, thus finding ourselves all alone.
10. Extreme commitment
Commitment counts as a virtue until you start neglection your own self and your needs in the wake of extreme commitment towards your family and children.
What are the symptoms of Mom burnout?
Wondering if you too are a burnout mom, here are a few red flags you need look after:
- Experiencing frequent headaches, restlessness and anxiousness.
- The frequent sense of an overwhelming feeling which pushes you to lash out at others even on meagre issues.
- The heavy feeling of being empty inside.
- Being unable to sleep well at night – even after you have put your baby to sleep, and feeling fatigued all day long.
- Not being happy and laughing as much as you used to.
- Constantly nudging the overpowering and inflated expectations of accomplishing a list of tasks in a day (highly unrealistic) and pushing yourself to fulfil them.
It starts with controlling how you project yourself in front of other but eventually when the burden get too heavy to handle, you eventually give in and take the roller coaster ride of emotions which in most cases leads to burnout.
What are the tips to survive Mom burnout?
If you’re looking for ways to recharge your batteries so you can finally start feeling like yourself again then it’s time that you take a break from your domestic responsibilities for a few days and be a more involved family person. Sure, it will be a bit difficult for you to admit that you’re struggling to cope with all the domestic as well as motherly responsibilities, but rest assured that they will all work together to make you feel better and rested.
As you take some time to strike a balance, here are a few tips that you can consider to speed up your recovery.
After all, as Brené Brown says, “If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire.”
1. Treat yourself with some built-in rewards
Make a pact with yourself to schedule at least one fun activity every day. This will give you something to look forward to and also serve as family time together where you can build a stronger bond with your kids and spouse over some fun exercises. Else, you can also book yourself a time bracket where you can involve in some simple, guided meditation(take help from the Youtube videos!) or how about a weekend getaway with your hubby?!
2. Make a schedule for yourself
Having a routine in place help curb stress. So, sit down, make yourself a schedule and try to stick to it. Keep to a fixed sleep schedule, as taking a quality sleep is the first thing you can do to improve your mental and cognitive health. You can also use a bullet journal to keep a track on your day-to-day goals as go by planning your week well ahead in advance. A piece of throwaway information, planning a week ahead will help you make a cluster of all the similar tasks and save you a hell lot of time!
3. Reach out to your old buddies
In times when we are feeling low, our first instinct is to roll out and retreat – go back into our cocoon and shut everybody out. Especially if you are an introvert personality, you are sure to withdraw, at least initially. But once you start feeling better, it’s important that you reach out to your friends, dial-up your old buddies and be open to them about your current situation. Your friends will cheer you up and will fill in some humour and inspiration back into your life.
4. Exercise regularly
Even on your lowest days, when you don’t feel like doing anything, go out and EXERCISE. Trust us, you will notice an instant mood lift and ideally, you’ll later want to exercise every day. Don’t go with the goal of sweating it out but rather move your body which will further release feel-good endorphins in your blood.
5. Tap into the healing powers of music
Music is one such outlet which fills your mind and spirit with positive energy. Listen to your favourite music which will fuel, exercise and relax your mind and put you in a happy-nostalgic state. Even if you go about reading Healing at the Speed of Sound by Alex Doman and Don Campbell, the duo imparts the knowledge about the powerful and positive effects of music on patients who were suffering from cardiac disease and terminal illness. Just turn on some soothing music and transport yourself into a peaceful world.
6. Book a “Power Hour” morning routine for yourself
If you usually wake up by 7, try and set an alarm for an hour before your regular time and dedicate it to yourself. Involve in some self-pampering, take sufficient time eating your breakfast, pen down your goals and kick start your day at 10X more productive streak.
7. Preach the Pareto principle and review your life
We are all versed with the fact that only 20 percent of your efforts drive 80 percent of outcomes. So, you need to come to terms with yourself and eliminate some daily habits and activities to shell out some time to follow your hobbies and indulge in self-care.
If none of these tips is able to break your cycle of negative feelings, then you should consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional.
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